Republicans from Palo Alto County packed the auditorium at Iowa Lakes Community College to participate in the 2012 Iowa Caucus Tuesday night. Their 275 votes in the Presidential Preference Poll put Rick Santorum at the top, with Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul at a tie for second, followed by Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann.
Vote totals by candidate were:
Rick Santorum, 70 votes, 25%; Newt Gingrich, 52 votes, 19%; Ron Paul, 52 votes, 19%; Mitt Romney, 48 votes, 17%; Rick Perry, 38 votes, 14%; and Michele Bachmann, 12 votes, 4%. Jon Huntsman received one vote; and Tim Pawlenty received two votes.
Iowa Caucus night brought Palo Alto County Republicans to the auditorium at Iowa Lakes Community College in Emmetsburg. Palo Alto County Republican Chairman Bob Jacobson (pictured in the foreground at left) addressed the crowd. Republicans chose candidate Rick Santorum in the Presidential Preference Poll. Voting by precinct is on page 6 of The Reporter. --Jane Whitmore photo
Prior to the crowd of over 275 separating into precincts to cast their ballots in the Presidential Preference Poll, several county residents spoke on behalf of their candidates.
Sam Henkelvig of Emmetsburg spoke on behalf of Michele Bachmann. Bob Jacobson from Ruthven and Susanne Reding of Cylinder spoke on behalf of Newt Gingrich. Steve Merwald of Emmetsburg spoke on behalf of Ron Paul. John Spies spoke on behalf of Mitt Romney. John Otto, State Representative from Texas, spoke on behalf of Rick Perry. Tom Weig of Graettinger spoke on behalf of Rick Santorum.
"I thought it was an excellent turnout tonight," said Bob Jacobson, chair of the Palo Alto County Republican Party. "It shows that there is a tremendous interest in this election. There are a number of people saying nobody's paying attention, but they really don't know what they're talking about. (President) Obama is in big trouble, as far as I'm concerned. He's trying to change the American culture and a lot of people don't want to change the American culture."
Local candidates speaking at the caucus were Megan Hess, candidate for Iowa House District 2; Carmen Moser, candidate for Palo Alto County Auditor; and Darrin Adams, candidate for Palo Alto County Sheriff.
"All are outstanding young candidates," Jacobson commented. "We're absolutely delighted to have them on the ticket. They have already shown that they know how to do what they do and we need to get them elected."
Addressing the crowd at the beginning of the caucus, Bob Jacobson thanked the large number of voters for attending, stating, "We hope that you will continue to be involved in Republican politics in Palo Alto County. It's extremely important that you do this. We're glad you're here. This is an extremely important evening. It has tremendous significance."
Jacobson encouraged people to be involved in the Republican County Convention and to serve on the Republican Central Committee, noting it's "we the people" that need to make sure things happen.
"We have been losing our universal liberties, and the reason for that is, we have too much government. We are given to know that we are fundamentally equal by nature and equally endowed by inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," he said, stressing "the pursuit of happiness, not the guarantee of happiness. We the people govern ourselves and we have the freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail"
Delegates to the Palo Alto County Republican County Convention were named at the caucus. The convention is scheduled for Saturday, March 10, in Emmetsburg.
Statewide, Mitt Romney had a slight edge over Rick Santorum in the Presidential Preference Poll. Both received 25% of Iowans' votes, with Romney receiving eight votes more than Santorum. On the state level, Ron Paul received 21% of the vote; Newt Gingrich, 13%; Rick Perry, 10%; Michele Bachmann, 5%; and Jon Huntsman, 1%.
A total of 53 citizens joined the Palo Alto County Democrats to caucus Tuesday night. The Democrats met in the courtroom of the Palo Alto County Courthouse.
County Chairperson Lori Hebel called the caucus to order and read a list of President Obama's accomplishments during his term in office, including health care reform and Wall Street reforms, and passing legislation to help small businesses. She shared the three main focuses of the Democrat Party this election season: talk to Democrats and Independents, vote early, and run an efficient, get-out-the-vote campaign.
President Obama then spoke via an audio presentation. Johnny Schad joined Hebel in reading statements from Senator Tom Harkin, Christie Vilsack (running for Congress, 4th District), and Steve Bomgaars (running for Statehouse, District 2).
State Senator Jack Kibbie addressed those gathered, reminding them that only two other states in the nation-Wyoming and North Dakota-are better off financially than Iowa. He received a standing ovation for his many years of political service.
Todd Suhr and Lynn Schultes, candidates for Palo Alto County Sheriff, also spoke.
The group split into individual precincts and a permanent chair, secretary, county convention delegates, and alternates were chosen to attend the County Convention scheduled for Mar. 17.